Government plan to give RTE extra €10m in budget was dropped at last moment

Seen and Heard: More banks review overcharging complaints; SSE preps €2bn spend

RTÉ Headquarters in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

RTÉ Headquarters in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A government plan to provide broadcaster RTÉ with an additional €10 million in Budget 2020 was dropped at the last moment, according to a report in the Business Post. It said that having lobbied for the funding boost, RTÉ management were shocked to discover on budget day that the increase had been cancelled.

Among the reasons suggested for the decision to drop the additional funding was hostility to the broadcaster from Fine Gael ministers, and a wish to see reforms implemented first.

Legal threats about coal ban

The Business Post also reports that three coal companies from outside of the Republic have issued legal threats preventing the government from introducing a national smoky coal ban in September. Two companies from the North and a third Amsterdam-headquartered group are behind letters sent to the Department of the environment outlining concerns about applying the ban solely to coal and not to other solid fuels.

Bank overcharging

Bank of Ireland and KBC are both reportedly investigating possible overcharging of customers who had mortgage insurance products with them. These are the latest lenders to launch reviews into overcharging after Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and AIB-owned EBS have all previously confirmed they are looking at the issue. The Central Bank meanwhile, is also examining the case. The controversy comes as financial institutions are still dealing with the fallout from the tracker mortgage scandal, in which more than 40,000 customers were overcharged, with some losing their homes as a result.

Quinn’s two QIH company cars

Both the Sunday Times and the Sunday Independent report that businessman Sean Quinn retained two company cars that belongs to Quinn Industrial Holdings. Mr Quinn reportedly kept a Range Rover and an Audi A6 after his acrimonious departure from the company, which briefly employed him as a consultant. The Sunday Independent adds that the former billionaire has been asked to stay away from the businesses he formerly owned and to return the two cars, which QIH continued to tax and insure until recently.

Arachas sale for €250m

Insurance broker Arachas has been acquired for more than €250 million by two US private equity investors, according to the Sunday Times. It says that HPS Independent Partners and Madison Dearborn have paid a a price that represents a multiple of about 13 times operating earnings for the Irish company, which has over 250 employees. Arachas is the largest independent broker locally. It specialises in arranging insurance for 80,000 Irish-owned businesses.

SSE’s €2bn Arklow wind farm

Green energy group SSE Renewables is expected to invest €2 billion for its Arklow Bank offshore wind farm in Co Wicklow, the same paper reports. SSE has planning permission to build up to 200 wind turbines to generate 520MW of energy in Wicklow, but it could potentially use new technology to install more turbines that would generate 800MW.

Toland criticises State cap on pay

Kevin Toland, chief executive of baked goods company Aryzta and formerly head of DAA, has criticised the State’s cap on salaries, telling the Sunday Independent it should be reassessed. He described the cap as an inhibitor to getting and retaining good talent.